single women, part 4: on purpose.

It's taken me longer to think about this post because of its delicate nature. Why are we here? There is a different array of answers for each of us, and I don't want to presume that I know why you're here and what your higher calling is in life. All of us are called to glorify God through Jesus Christ in our life. All of us. How we do that, however, is up to us and the freedom we experience in following Jesus.

I've been talking about single women, but really, I think all believers - men, women, singles, married folk, etc. - should ask themselves questions about their purpose, how they spend their time, and to what end they are working towards. You see, a single woman is merely a follower of Christ, just like a married woman is, just like a married man is.

In my broken quest to glorify the Lord, I have found that the number one influence on my walk with the Lord is how I spend my time.  Ephesians 5:15-17 says this, " Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Our time here on earth is important! It is valuable to His kingdom. We should not be foolish, but understand the will of the Lord, and do it. James tells us not to be hearers of the word but doers, otherwise we deceive ourselves (1:22).

The Bible is also very clear about wasted time. Proverbs 6:9-11 says, How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you lie a robber, and want like an armed man." 1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be self-controlled and alert. You're enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."  2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."

I share scripture instead of my own thoughts because I want to highlight the fact that everyone's call is different - everyone is created uniquely and with specific qualities and talents meant to bring God glory.  What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.  Legalism is me taking what I do to bring God glory and confining you to that structure.  You were made to glorify God just the way you are! Just how He intended - living freely in the power of Christ Jesus in you.

In my life, I have found that freedom in purpose comes from great discipline - discipline of mind, body, and soul. Ben Stuart said in one of his talks that "Freedom is a train on its tracks."  I agree wholeheartedly. One of my life verses is 1 Corinthians 9:24-27:

Do you not know that in a race all the runner run, but only one receives the prize?
So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.
They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others
I myself should be disqualified.

Whatever it takes - to live a holy life, to walk humbly, to act justly, to show mercy, to give grace, to love freely, to forgive without question. For me, it takes strict discipline in every aspect of my life, from what I eat, to how I take care of myself physically, to what I watch on television, to what I talk about with my friends, to how I fill my time, etc. I could go on and on. I definitely fail every single day, but these are the choices I strive to make to make my life pleasing to God, whether I'm single or married. 

A lie we fall into is "Well, I'll take care of that struggle when I get married and have help." Or, "I'll fix this when (insert anything) day comes."  Jesus is here and now; redemption has happened, sanctification is occurring, every second of every day. Praise Jesus for that. Our time is important to Him. Let's let Him fill our time, making it productive, fruitful, and glorifying.

This post is part of a series on being a single woman. The introduction is found here - single women. Please post comments, thoughts, stories, questions, etc. The next post is going to be a little different. As suggested by one of the readers, I am going to look at what it looks like to be pursued as a Godly woman.


single women, part 3: holy longings.

Longing (verb): having a strong wish or desire.

I would say that's Biblical.  God longed for redemption for His people and so He sent Jesus.  Jesus longs for intimacy with His children and so He gave His life and left us the Holy Spirit. Longings. Holy longings. What about longing for marriage?

Marriage is ordained by God. Biblical marriage is blessed by God.  Marriage is good. Longing for good things blessed and ordained by God is good.  Amen.  I used to think that I hadn't "trusted the Lord with my singleness" because I was still wanting to be married.  That is a false belief system that I will try to explain with the following story.

All my life I have been longing to do missions, particularly overseas. Yes, there is something exotic about the idea of adventures around the world, but also He has commanded us to go and tell the nations about Him. I want to do that.  I wanted to do it so badly sophomore year of college that I made myself sick - trying to figure out when and where, manipulating situations, jumping at every thought and opportunity, and anxiously fearing that I would never get to go.  I was physically sick from trying to control my desires.  I was miserable.

In a sermon I heard during that time, the pastor talked about having an open hand on our desires - open, so that the Lord could give and take away as He pleases (Job). I reluctantly relinquished my tight grip and stored up my desires in my heart.  They never went away, but the Lord faithfully taught me to hold tightly to only Him, so that then He could take me where He wanted me to be.  (I call this effect "growing down" in my own sort of lingo.)

Friends, the Lord is faithful.  I encourage each of you to read Psalm 139 and read it slowly. Let the Truth sink in. He knows your longings.  There isn't a thought in your mind, or a wish in your heart that He has not seen and noted.  And He loves you. Oh, how He loves you.

This summer, I will be going to Africa to do Speech Therapy and minister to the people there.  Speech therapy - a field I unenthusiastically joined, but joined due to the unmistakeable call of God towards it.  A field that I thought I was giving up dreams to be a part of. I thought that God was taking away some of my longings that were laid out in my open hands, when in fact, He was just asking me to trust Him. Praise Jesus.

Marriage, my friends, is just another opportunity to trust Jesus and then let Him astound and bless you.  It's okay to long for it, as long as we are trusting Him with that longing. Keep it in those open hands.  It's hard to add things to a closed fist. Let's not let our tight grip prevent us from receiving the blessings God wants to give us.